SPECIAL FROM BET.COM: Eye on Unemployment: Atlanta

August, 2011

BET.com takes a look at what’s happening in Dr. King’s hometown to address the crisis affecting a large amount of African-Americans.


By Danielle Wright
Posted: 08/25/2011 07:00 AM EDT

Atlanta. It’s the hometown of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and a stomping ground of the civil rights movement.

When opportunities were not readily available for Blacks, outlets such as Dr. King’s alma materMorehouse College allowed African-Americans to receive a quality education to help make opportunities for themselves. 

Forty-three years after his death, however, and just days before the unveiling of Dr. King’s memorial in Washington D.C., Atlanta, like several other cities across the nation, is dealing with a pressing obstacle: unemployment.

Atlanta’s unemployment rate stands at 11.8 percent in July, up from 11.3 percent last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For African-Americans, however, the most recently available data shows their unemployment in the city of Atlanta stands at 24.1 percent, according to the Bureau’s Current Population Survey.

“We’re used to corporate America pulling back for a minute, but then hiring again.  We’re used to diversity programs working.  We take affirmative action for granted.  We assume people will be sympathetic to our concerns and our needs.  We are used to big businesses like IBM and others being responsive to us,” John Hope Bryant, president and CEO of Operation Hope tells BET.com. “But those days are over. This is not a recession; it’s a reset.”

Read the complete story at BET.com here.


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